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Paul Murdaugh's Final Cell Phone Activity Before Brutal Murder Is Revealed In Court
Paul Murdaugh was texting with friend Rogan Gibson about a puppy staying on his property when he suddenly stopped responding to any messages around 8:49 p.m. on the night of June 7, 2021.
Paul Murdaugh’s final text messages before he was gunned down by the dog kennels on his family’s property were revealed in court Monday.
Paul, the 22-year-old son of former South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh, was texting with his friend Rogan Gibson about a puppy Gibson had staying at the kennels on the night of June 7, 2021 when Paul suddenly stopped answering, according to The Post and Courier.
The pair talked on the phone together around 8:44 p.m. that night but when Gibson texted Paul five minutes later at 8:49 p.m. to ask him to take a photo of the dog’s injured tail, Paul never responded.
For the next hour and a half, Gibson tried to call his friend five separate times, first at 9:10 p.m. and then again at 9:29 p.m., 9:42 p.m., 9:57 p.m. and finally at 10:08 p.m. Paul would never answer.
When he didn’t receive an answer, Gibson also texted Paul’s mother Maggie to ask her to have Paul call him.
By then, prosecutors believe that Paul and Maggie were already dead.
The bodies of the slain mother and son were discovered near the dog kennels after 10 p.m. Paul had been killed with a shotgun, including a shot to the head that tore his brain from his body.
“His brains flew out,” Defense Attorney Dick Harpootlian told jurors in court Monday, according to NBC News. “There’s hair and blood and pieces of skull in the ceiling around him.”
Maggie was shot multiple times with an AR-style rifle and was found face down in a pool of blood and brain matter.
Prosecutors said both Maggie and Paul’s phones locked at 8:49 p.m., never to be used again. Just minutes earlier, state prosecutors have said a SnapChat video taken by Paul placed both Maggie and Alex near the dog kennels as the three family members discussed a dog that had taken off with a chicken in its mouth, according to The Post and Courier.
The video has yet to be played in court.
The video seems to contradict the timeline Alex — who is accused of killing his wife and son but pleaded not guilty to the charges — gave to investigators shortly after the deadly shootings.
In an interview three days after the murders, Alex insisted to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) that he had never been down by the kennels that night.
Alex told authorities that on the night of the double homicide, he and Paul rode around the property as they talked about planting sunflowers and “doing things we like to do out there.”
The father and son then joined Maggie for dinner. Alex said after dinner he fell asleep watching TV, while Paul and Maggie went down to the kennels.
“I stayed in the house,” he insisted in a recording of the interview played in court Monday.
When he woke up, Alex told investigators he decided to go visit his mother, who was struggling with late-stage Alzheimer’s, before returning to the property around 10 p.m. and discovering the bodies.
Alex began to cry during the interview as he talked about the “wonderful” relationship he had with his wife.
“She was a wonderful girl,” he said through sobs, according to ABC Savannah affiliate WJCL. “And a wonderful wife. And she was a great mom.”
What happened next is unclear.
Prosecutors believe that when investigators brought up the brutal nature of the murders, Alex said, “It’s just so bad,” before uttering “I did him so bad,” according to the local paper.
Others believe Alex actually said, “They did him so bad.”
While prosecutors continue to lay out the puzzle pieces of the case that they believe prove Alex killed his wife and son, his defense team has focused on pointing out potential flaws in the investigation.
On Monday, Harpootlian cross-examined SLED Special Agent Melinda Worley about what he implied was a lack of effort to preserve the crime scene.
While on the stand, Worley admitted that a bloody footprint found at the crime scene had actually been left by one of the first responders, not the victims or killer.
"Should the police be walking through the scene?" Harpootlian asked Worley, according to NBC News.
"No," Worley responded.
When he probed further, asking whether it was “the preservation of the scene that your standards require,” Worley again responded, “not exactly, no,” according to The Associated Press.
Harpootlian also showed a photo of Maggie’s body and asked Worley whether it was possible there was a shoeprint on her calf that was not formally documented by authorities.
Worley said she couldn’t be sure whether the footprint was present or not.
Harpootlian also suggested the possibility that there had been two killers after noting the different positions the bodies were discovered in and the fact that both victims had been killed with different guns.
“One explanation of this data would be two shooters,” he said, according to WJCL.
“Not the only one,” Worley countered back.
In addition to the murder charges against him, Alex — who hailed from a prominent legal family — is also separately facing around 100 other charges accusing him of stealing millions of dollars from his former law firm and clients, along with accusations of tax evasion, money laundering and running a drug ring. He’s also been accused of convincing a man to shoot him on the side of the road in a botched assisted suicide attempt in an effort to secure his sole surviving son Buster a $10 million life insurance payout.
If convicted of the murder charges against him, Alex could be facing 30 years to life in prison.